Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Multi-channel retail meets Shopper Marketing

For many of us who come from the digital world, the mere existence of a whole area of retail analysis called Shopper Marketing is a bit a surprise.

And even those like me who are aware... but talk, write or generally think about multi-channel retailing, tend to focus on digital first and in-store second.

But if the statistic in that above Wikipedia article that '70% of brand selections are still made in stores' is to be believed... then online needs to get realistic about the influence it really has at the point of sale. Now I've no actual evidence to contradict this figure, but it does feel a rather high percentage... given that a lot of people will already have made their choice up about the brands they want before they get to the point of purchase.

Over the last few months I've built up my understanding of Shopper Marketing, having worked alongside an agency that specifically does that sort of thing. I actually have to admit I am actually quite impressed with some of the outputs of their work; producing empirical results from their in-store analysis which puts a lot of website testing to shame. For example, heat maps are carried out on different product aisles in various stores from a selection of viewer angles.

In short, digital user experience practitioners could learn a lot from the effort that goes into store planning (where to put products and how customers get to them).

So it does raise the important issue of how these two disciplines come together to:
  • Understand the roles that in-store and online now have
  • Map the Paths to Purchase (both Digital to Store and Store to Digital)
  • Grow customer loyalty and retain existing customers
In short, multi-channel retail / eCommerce and shopper marketing now need to merge into a single area of specialisation... Multi-channel shopper marketing.
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